Gender-related and geographic trends in interactions between radiotherapy professionals on Twitter

Thomas Berger, Neree Payan, Emmanuelle Fleury, Angela Davey, Abigail Bryce-Atkinson, Eliana Vasquez Osorio, Zhuolin Yang, Thomas McMullan, Leila E.A. Shelley, Anne Gasnier, Jenny Bertholet, Marianne C. Aznar, William H. Nailon

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background and purpose: Twitter presence in academia has been linked to greater research impact which influences career progression. The purpose of this study was to analyse Twitter activity of the radiotherapy community around ESTRO congresses with a focus on gender-related and geographic trends. Materials and methods: Tweets, re-tweets and replies, here designated as interactions, around the ESTRO congresses held in 2012–2021 were collected. Twitter activity was analysed temporally and, for the period 2016–2021, the geographical span of the ESTRO Twitter network was studied. Tweets and Twitter users collated during the 10 years analysed were ranked based on number of ‘likes’, ‘re-tweets’ and followers, considered as indicators of leadership/influence. Gender representation was assessed for the top-end percentiles. Results: Twitter activity around ESTRO congresses was multiplied by 60 in 6 years growing from 150 interactions in 2012 to a peak of 9097 in 2018. In 2020, during the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic, activity dropped by 60 % to reach 2945 interactions and recovered to half the pre-pandemic level in 2021. Europe, North America and Oceania were strongly connected and remained the main contributors. While overall, 58 % of accounts were owned by men, this proportion increased towards top liked/re-tweeted tweets and most-followed profiles to reach up to 84 % in the top-percentiles. Conclusion: During the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic, Twitter activity around ESTRO congresses substantially decreased. Men were over-represented on the platform and in most popular tweets and influential accounts. Given the increasing importance of social media presence in academia the gender-based biases observed may help in understanding the gender gap in career progression.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)129-135
Number of pages7
JournalPhysics and Imaging in Radiation Oncology
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2022


  • COVID-19
  • ESTRO congress
  • Gender bias
  • Radiotherapy
  • Social media
  • Trends
  • Twitter
  • Virtual congress


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